Leave the castle.

At a birthday brunch in Chelsea about twenty years ago, Jen was telling us about her two weeks at Navy Reserves bootcamp. There were rules about how you did things. Like you couldn't speak at meals. If you needed the salt, you made a prescribed gesture, and it would passed to you. This wasn't a story of suffering. Some tough moments in the rain and some sleep deprivation, but nothing all that hard to take. Still, there I was, listening to her story, with every cell in my body tensed up against the idea. No way I would ever do anything like that. I had this vision of me in a tower, Rapunzel-like, head-to-toe unwilling to take. one. step. outside. Until that moment, I had no idea that I lived in a castle. It was weird the way it came to me all at once like that. Ugly and true. I had minimum comfort standards dictating how far and when I would go out. Apparently, I'd left them in charge, on autopilot, a while ago. Didn't really notice doing it. It just kind of happened, and now it was going to be a process to find the keys, reprogram the parameters and leave the castle.